You are the Tournament Director: Over the Line
In the EPT event in Vienna in 2005 there was a rule in place whereby any chips that crossed the line were deemed to be a bet. The line went all around the table and was about six inches from the edge of the table. Therefore if say the blinds were 50,100 and you picked up your stack and dropped a 100 chip off the bottom to call you would be forced to raise all in. In another situation a player had 400 in for the big blind and had a few callers in the pot. When given the option to raise he threw three 500 chips into the pot and then withdrew the 400, a common move by poker players. It was deemed he could not withdraw the original 400 and his total bet was now 1900. In another situation a player was handling some big chips and doing tricks in his hands with them. When the action was on him, because it was considered that his hands were over the line, he was forced to bet those chips. The rule was explained at the start of the event that any chips over the line were a bet whether released, in the air or whatever and that the rule would be dealer enforced.
Do you think that this rule is a good rule, a bad rule and what are your comments on it?
I think that is a tough rule, but if it’s going to be the rule I think it is a good rule. I mean, I think it’s a good ruling. I should say I think that if you know you are trying to teach players that that line is there for a reason. I don’t think players should be able to move their hand over the line with those chips and not make a bet. If you don’t enforce it you’re opening it up, to you know, angle shooting constantly. In my opinion I think that people would be doing tricks over the line all the time if they thought they could get away with it.
I’m not in favour of the rule itself. I mean I know that there’s...that’s probably the biggest separation that Marcel and I have talked about is the betting line and I’ve always believed that you, in the States we have to, you have to cut chips out of your hands for it to be a bet and I’m confident in that ruling. Now people say that people bring big stacks of chips over, well I don’t allow that, if somebody brings it to my attention that somebody is bringing chips over the line constantly then dropping off one chip then I’ll stop it and if not then there will be a penalty assessed its not one of those things that’s I’ll allow to keep going on so I’m comfortable with the ruling that you have to cut the chips out of your hands for it to be a bet I don’t see, I’ve never really...Do I think the betting line is a good rule? I think it has its good reasons to have it but I no I don’t agree with it, I don’t think it’s mandatory.
I basically think that the rule is good, because it teaches the players to make clear bets and raises. (A player should determine how much he wants to bet/raise and then make “one” move over the line). The idea of the rule is that the players don’t go over the line and a) drop chips out of the hand b) cut down chips not clearly in one motion or c) put down a full stack to intimidate a player and then take back the entire stack but one chip.
In an ideal world I would like to see this rule being enforced but due to betting habits of players (playing over many years) I have to say that decisions to enforce this rule change the action of the game too much...
In my tournaments the chips need to be released into the pot to count as a bet. In the instance where the player threw in $1500 I would make the $1900 play.
I think it’s a very bad rule, I’ve seen this type of situation and it’s not clear enough for players. I was playing in a tournament recently and someone told me that after I had bet, having said raise, then when I started to count out the chips was told that the first chip only went. I always feel that you must abide by local rules however, whatever they are. In general, it’s my opinion that once a player has said raise, they should be able to do what they like as long as they don’t go back to their stack. In relation to this I’m looking at this with regards to televised tournaments with celebrities, where they are allowed to do whatever they want, making bets which could only be considered string bets were professionals to do so, and that gives new tournament players bad ideas. Over 20 years ago some of these rules were put in place to discourage string betting and now they are going the other way around encouraging it on television.
To be honest I like the fact that there is a line and once crossing the line it’s a bet, but there is a grey area here. I know this because it was enforced in EPT Deauville where I played. On some tables it was enforced by dealers 100% of the time and on other tables where the dealer didn’t want hassle they would let it pass.
I would say that for this to be effective you need to do a few things different before this rule can be affected.
1 The line around the table needs to be at least 12 inches from the edge of the table
2 Chips if hovered around the line or if your hand is over the line are in play
It’s a terrible rule! It’s just a rubbish rule and in these events you must use common sense. If a schoolboy’s cap is blown off his head and it lands on grass with a sign saying ‘keep off the grass’ does he wait until the wind blows it back off the grass.
The Mob Verdict
This was a rule that was in place in Vienna for the EPT in 2005. The reasons why Thomas, who was the TD there at the time, had this rule in place were good ones. In a perfect poker world players should make all their actions very clear, count out there chips in front of them and make their bet in one motion. The problem was that in practise it didn’t work too well. Poker players as Thomas puts it, ‘due to betting habits of players (playing over many years)’ do many things at the table that they do unconsciously. For example if the blinds are 100/200 and it passes around to the small blind the player on the small blind might pick up a stack of black 100 chips in one hand, make a forward motion over the line with all of them and drop one off the bottom. The player wouldn’t be trying to shoot an angle and the motion would be natural. The other problem in Vienna at this time was that it was dealer enforced. As Mel points out in her answer this was a problem with consistency. Even if the players have all been told a local rule that they don’t agree with they have to abide by the rules of the card room that they are playing in. If some dealers are enforcing it and others not then this causes all sorts of problems.
The rule was a good idea in principle but it has since been recognised that in practice it is far from perfect. Jack seems to have the right answer in that chips must be released into the pot and Matt hits the nail on the head when he says that anyone who is trying to manipulate opponents or angle shoot by making their bets in certain ways will be subject to penalties.
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